The UN Committee Against Torture has praised Cyprus for legislative amendments enacted on the legal rights of detainees but has also expressed concerns about reports of ill-treatment and sexual abuse of detainees by police officials.
In a press release, the UN Committee Against Torture says it has published its findings on the rights record of Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Latvia, Niger, Portugal and Uzbekistan it examined during its latest session from November 11 to December 6, 2019.
Referring to Cyprus, the Committee “praises amendments to the legal rights of detainees and prisoners, but remains concerned about reports of ill-treatment and sexual abuse of detainees by police officials, and urges effective measures, inter alia, to ensure the implementation of fundamental legal safeguards.”
The Committee is also “concerned about failures to identify victims of torture among asylum seekers and migrants, which means that they do not get medical examination and treatment but rather risk being detained and possibly deported, with the risk of being tortured again.”
In a particular reference to missing persons in Cyprus in its report, while welcoming the work of the Bi-communal Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), the Committee “remains concerned about the lack of information regarding redress afforded to relatives of victims and the measures taken to investigate cases of missing persons and prosecute those responsible.”
The Committee is concerned that “the CMP is not empowered to grant redress to the relatives of the missing persons, and that the overall approach is a humanitarian rather than human rights-based approach.”
The Committee requests Cyprus to provide, by December 9, 2023, information on follow-up to the Committee’s recommendations “on measures to combat the problem of police abuses, in particular during investigations; ensure legal recourse for asylum-seekers and irregular migrants who have lost the protection of suspensive effect; and improve the screening system to ensure early identification, referral, assistance and support for vulnerable asylum-seekers, in particular for victims of torture and ill-treatment.”
In that context, the State party is invited to inform the Committee about its plans for implementing, within the coming reporting period, some or all of the remaining recommendations in the concluding observations, the report reads.